On Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in overtime.
And Raffi Torres sent Marian Hossa to the hospital on a stretcher.
Brendan Shanahan has made the discipline from the league office a joke throughout the postseason, and realized the ultimate worst-case scenario as Chicago superstar Hossa was taken, lifeless, off the ice. As you can see from the video, the repeat offender left his feet without the puck being anywhere near Hossa, and knocked him out cold.
After the game, the Blackhawks released the following statement:
“Marian Hossa suffered an upper body blow in the first period of tonight’s game. After initial evaluation on the ice he was taken by ambulance to the hospital for further testing, which yielded encouraging results. He has been released from the hospital, and we are monitoring him closely at home. We anticipate a full recovery in a timetable yet to be determined. “
After leaving the ice on a stretcher with his neck in a brace, and leaving the United Center in an ambulance, this news is encouraging. But it doesn’t change the reality that Torres put Hossa’s career in jeopardy with a stupid, ugly hit.
The fact that the Blackhawks lost the game in overtime meant little in light of the injury to Hossa, and the crowd at the United Center was impacted. After the Torres hit, the crowd in Chicago sat nauseated and stunned over 13 minutes into an overtime period until the game ended on an unfortunate goal.
Mike Smith, who did not speak with the media because of “extreme circumstances” after fully participating in practice on Tuesday morning, started the game and made 35 saves in 73:14. Not bad for a guy that was a “game-time decision.”
The continuing trend of “not the usual suspects” played into the Hawks’ scoring, as Andrew Brunette and Michael Frolik were credited with the team’s two goals. It was Frolik’s first goal since Dec. 14 and momentarily gave Chicago the lead.
Despite the game going over 13 minutes into overtime, rookie Dylan Olsen only skated nine shifts and 4:56 in the game; Johnny Oduya skated over 29 minutes in the game while Brent Seabrook was over 33 and Duncan Keith was over 34 on the night.
Between the lack of confidence in a rookie defensemen and the loss of a top forward to injury, the Hawks were both frustrated and tired in the overtime period. Even so, the Hawks controlled the puck and put six shots on net before what appeared to be an attempt to center the puck as much as it was a scoring attempt from Mikkel Boedker snuck behind Corey Crawford for the game-winning score.
The game was hard-fought by both teams well into overtime. What is sad is that two teams played well for over 73 minutes and the pathetic, illegal (and unpenalized) play from a reckless goon took one of the world’s elite players out of the game and stole the headlines.